Medline: 10856103

The abstract Journal of Clinical Oncology 18(12): 2427-2434, 2000. is available online.

The fulltext Journal of Clinical Oncology 18(12): 2427-2434, 2000. may be available online for subscribers.

Benefit of intensified therapy for patients with local or regional embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma: results from the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study IV.

Baker KS, Anderson JR, Link MP, et al.


To compare failure-free survival (FFS) and survival for patients with local or regional embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma treated on the Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS)-IV with that of comparable patients treated on IRS-III.

Patients and Methods:
Patients were retrospectively classified as low- or intermediate-risk. Low-risk patients were defined as those with primary tumors at favorable sites, completely resected or microscopic residual, or orbit/eyelid primaries with gross residual disease and tumors less than 5 cm at unfavorable sites but completely resected. Intermediate-risk patients were all other patients with local or regional tumors.

Three-year FFS improved from 72% on IRS-III to 78% on IRS-IV for patients with intermediate-risk embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (P =.02). Subset analysis revealed two groups that benefited most from IRS-IV therapy. FFS at 3 years for patients with resectable node-positive or unresectable (group III) embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma arising at certain favorable sites (head and neck [not orbit/eyelid or parameningeal] and genitourinary [not bladder or prostate]) improved from 72% on IRS-III to 92% on IRS-IV (P =.01). Similarly, 3-year FFS for patients with completely resected tumor or with only microscopic disease remaining (group I or II) at unfavorable sites improved from 71% on IRS-III to 86% on IRS-IV (P =.04). Only patients with unresectable embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma (group III) at unfavorable sites had no improvement in outcome on IRS-IV (3-year FFS for IRS-III and IRS-IV, 72% and 75%, respectively; P =.31).

IRS-IV therapy benefited certain subgroups of patients with intermediate-risk embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. A doubling of the intensity of cyclophosphamide (or ifosfamide equivalent) dosing per cycle between IRS-III and IRS-IV is thought to be a key contributing factor for this improvement.

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Dr. G. Quade